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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter July 12, 2013

Use of antidepressants for major depressive disorder in children and adolescents: clinical considerations

  • María Dolores Picouto EMAIL logo and María Dolores Braquehais


Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a frequent condition among children and, especially, among adolescents. However, its clinical presentation usually differs from that of adults. It is also associated with other diagnoses and with an increased morbidity and mortality. However, MDD in this population remains underrecognized and undertreated. Antidepressants (ATDs) are chosen when psychoeducational, psychosocial and/or psychotherapeutic approaches have failed. ATDs are generally used in severe cases, and are always combined with psychological treatments. The objective of this work is to discuss the role of ATD in child and adolescent MDD. We focus on the recommendations of the most cited and updated clinical guidelines and discuss some controversial aspects with regards efficacy and safety issues that have been raised based on the information obtained from clinical trials. Finally, we offer some practical recommendations for clinicians. All these findings also pose some doubt on the hypothesis of MDD as a homogeneous phenomenon during the human life cycle.

Corresponding author: Dr. María Dolores Picouto, MD, Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Psychology, Sant Joan de Déu Hospital, Universitat de Barcelona, Pg. Sant Joan de Déu, 2. 08950 Esplugues de Llobregat, Barcelona, Spain


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Received: 2012-7-1
Accepted: 2012-8-18
Published Online: 2013-07-12
Published in Print: 2013-09-01

©2013 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston

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